As a parent, you’ve probably done everything you could think of to ensure that your home is as safe and secure as possible for your children. After all, your home is where your kids will learn about the world around them, so it’s critical that they feel safe while moving around inside.
According to the Home Safety Council, home injuries are the leading cause of accidental injuries and death in small children with almost 21 million hospital visits and 20,000 deaths reported each year. Some of the most commonly reported instances include accidental choking on toys, contact with open fire or electrical hazards, or being bitten or scratched by the family pet.
Luckily, these home injuries are mostly avoidable through prevention and education. You just need to take some proactive steps to help ensure that your child is safe inside your home.
Focus on the Floor
A vast majority of accidental home injuries involving children occur at floor level. The best way for you to prevent these injuries is by seeing your home “through your child’s eyes”. Sit down on the floor and look around: what do you see that may constitute a health hazard?
One of the things that many parents overlook is small clutter and trash. You might think that a few pennies falling behind your couch isn’t such a big deal, but your child might look those coins differently when they get a hold of them! What’s more, kids are more likely to reach those nooks and crannies where small clutter might be hiding.
The first rule of keeping your children safe in your home is making sure that they can’t reach any small objects that they can put in their mouths, since choking hazards a leading cause of death in small children. In fact, the CDC estimates that a child chokes to death in the USA every five days.
Keep Electrical Hazards out of Reach
Small children don’t have the capacity yet to understand safety rules when it comes to electronics and appliances. This is why you need to pay attention to wires, cords, and cables! Anything that is within their reach is fair game, so make sure to tuck away dangling wires and cords.
Electrical outlets should also be kept closed when they are not in use, as small children might try sticking something into the sockets. You can buy cheap plastic covers for your outlets from any hardware store.
Dangerous Areas Must Not Be Accessible Without Supervision
There are many areas in your home that should not be accessible to your children if you are not around. Some areas such as the kitchen or bathroom might be dangerous because they contain fire, electrical, or slipping hazards. Other areas such as stairs and windows are dangerous because your child may fall.
One good option to have is a portable baby gate. These gates don’t need to be drilled into walls, and instead can be wedged against a doorway or walls by special telescopic arms on the side. These baby gates have automatic locks that close after you pass through, and can only be opened if you open the lock, lift up the gate, and swing it outwards simultaneously.
Family Pets Must Be Suitable For Your Children
Accidental bites, scratches, or other injuries can occur with family pets if your small children do not know how to interact properly with these animals. Even the most docile and well-trained pet can become aggressive or defensive if a child plays too roughly with them.
This is why it is important to choose a family pet that’s suitable for your child’s age, energy level, and ability to interact with the animal. Dogs typically work best for families with small children since dogs are usually calmer and more tolerant around boisterous children compared to other pets such as cats, rabbits, or birds.
However, it is still your responsibility as a parent to teach your child how to properly interact with pets, and to step in if your child becomes too rough with the animal. Don’t ever assume that a pet will always act calmly towards children, no matter how well-trained a pet would be.
Teach Them How to Use 911 At an Early Age
One of the reasons why 911 is so short is to make it easy to remember for children. Even small children can be taught how to call 911 in case of emergencies. There are many great resources on how to do this, such as videos on YouTube or articles on child care websites.
Alternatively, you can also identify one or two trusted neighbors that your child can contact in case of an emergency and you are not available.
While it is impossible to foresee everything, you can still take these five aforementioned steps to help ensure that your home is safe for your small children. Every room in your home must be organized in a way to prevent accidents as much as possible, and you should be constantly reminding your children how to interact with the world around them safely. Remember, safety in the home starts by building good habits, both for you and your children.
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